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Big Chuck

November 19, 2012

Time to move on after grueling campaign season

Nobody likes a presidential election campaign better than I do. But this one darn near took a piece out of me.

This has been the longest, most expensive and nastiest campaign in my memory. And my memory goes back to 1968.

I was in college in Albany that year, and I stayed up on election night in my one-room apartment watching the returns come in on my tiny black-and-white television set. We had no declared winner until well into the next morning when Ohio was called for Richard Nixon. He ended up beating Vice President Humphrey by less than 1 percent.

What is it about Ohio? And Florida for that matter? The Peck’s Bad Boy of state voting irregularities, it was actually quite shocking to see people waiting in line five and six hours to vote there. In Florida. In 80-degree sunshine. Why? They had better election efficiency last year in Kabul than they did in Dade County.

As the race neared the finish line people began musing about the possibility of an Electoral College tie. What would happen? Fears were abated when President Obama rolled to a near electoral landslide over Mitt Romney.

And what is the Electoral College anyway? Instituted by our founding fathers, the Electoral College was put into place to ensure that the riff-raff in our society would not end up picking our leader, but rather their votes would be handed over to the more sophisticated gentry who could be trusted to make an intelligent choice for President (in theory). 

Should we abolish the Electoral College and just let the majority rule?

Try telling that to New Hampshire and Iowa, two perennial presidential kingmakers. It is estimated that in the last year both nominees made a total of 60 campaign trips to each of these less-than-populous states. Can anybody guess how many campaign stops Obama and Romney would have made is Des Moines or Nashua if the winner was declared abased on popularity votes only? It would be a figure very close to zero.

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